Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 9th Nov 2013 18:44 UTC
Games

The recent news, pictures, and reports about the prototype Steam Machine got me thinking. Since the SteamOS platform is a simple x86 computer, without the kind of restrictions that regular consoles come with, you can simply build the prototype Steam Machine today. However, the big issue is that Valve has done some magic to make sure that the hefty processor and videocard are properly cooled in the tiny prototype enclosure.

For years now, I've been looking for a way to build such a powerful PC in such a tiny package. The problem is that building such a small, powerful PC yourself is not easy - especially not for someone like me, who doesn't have the time to keep up with the honestly irresponsibly large amount of options available in the processor, videocard, cooler, and case markets. It's a mumble-jumble of version numbers, and in the case of video cards, cooling designs, card lengths, and god knows what else.

So, I have a simple question. Say I want to build a small, powerful gaming PC like the Steam Machine prototype, using off-the-shelf parts, for a reasonable price (I would say EUR 600-800). It needs to be properly cooled and as silent as possible, and it needs to be a small console form factor - so a small, horizontal case. Building a powerful, cool gaming PC in a tower is easy. Building it small and console-like, however, is not.

So, if you were to build something like that, which components would you pick? I might - no guarantees! - take up the advice given here and actually build it, if I can justify the spending. Even if I don't - it seems like a nice exercise for the PC builders among us. The laptop, smartphone, and tablet explosion has pushed custom PC building to the sidelines, but I still think it's an incredibly fun and satisfying activity - and if you're good enough, it is, most certainly, an art.

Order by: Score:
PSU would probably be the hardest.
by leech on Sat 9th Nov 2013 19:09 UTC
leech
Member since:
2006-01-10

From what I saw of the prototype, they didn't even have a PSU in it. I tend to think it'd be the hardest part to find. Getting a Power Supply that will feed a beefy video card that is small enough to fit into a micro-ATx case could be time consuming.

Other than that, the only thing I noticed that seemed non-standard was the riser card, but those should be easy enough to track down.

Here's the case, and Silverstone also sells the Riser card.

http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=84&area=en

Depending on the cost of the components, I may just wait to get an 'official' steam machine. I do like what I've seen of their design so far!

Reply Score: 5

No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

You'd want a 80 plus Gold or Platinum rated PSU. I've got a Corsair AX760, which is Platinum, and I don't think it's ever become warm enough for the fan to turn on. It's just extremely efficient. Regular size. Also expensive.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/80_Plus

Reply Score: 3

Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

I agree, if you buy a cheap off the shelf PSU you won't be able to build a good console. A more expensive PSU can handle the task. It just has a higher cost.

I've bought a buch of "silent" PSUs for different PCs I've build for people and they are a bit more expensive, but they are really quiet and there is very little heat.

Reply Score: 3

p13. Member since:
2005-07-10

Or just build one. Switching PSUs are easy to make.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by _txf_
by _txf_ on Sat 9th Nov 2013 22:05 UTC
_txf_
Member since:
2008-03-17

If you're looking to match or be in competitive range of the specs of the steambox you're looking to spend half/third of your cash (600€/800€) on the graphics card.

In terms of cost ratio I imagine it will go something like: 0.4 gfx, 0.2 cpu, 0.1 mobo, 0.1 PSU, 0.1 Ram, 0.05 box (if you're not too fussy). the extra 0.05 is wriggle room between PSU and mobo.

These ratios assume that you're not going for gaming components (excepting the graphics card). In my opinion gaming components tend to be overpriced unless you're planning things like overclocking etc.

Another thing to bear in mind is to keep the quality of the PSU relative to the Graphics card power. a 600W PSU should be alright if you're buying from a brand like Corsair, but if you cheap out you're going to have a bad time (soon if you're unlucky and later if luck holds).

Edited 2013-11-09 22:11 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Small build
by chandler on Sun 10th Nov 2013 03:34 UTC
chandler
Member since:
2006-08-29

It's not quite in the right form factor, but here's the mini-ITX build I put together last weekend:

* ASRock Z87E-ITX
* Core i7-4770K
* Crucial 16GB DDR3 1600
* Cooler Master Elite 130 case (similar to the classic Shuttle cases)
* Cooler Master Seidon 120M closed loop liquid cooler
* Cooler Master V700 ATX PSU
* MSI Radeon 7870 OC
* Samsung 840 Evo 250GB
* Toshiba 3TB HDD

You could definitely put together something similar within your price range if this form factor works for you.

Of those components, the noisiest at idle is actually the HDD; I'm actually thinking of pulling it out. Otherwise it's pretty darned quiet at idle, once a reasonable fan profile is configured. The liquid cooler has a definite whir/click to the pump, but there are quieter models out there. I would say the liquid cooling kit is essential as there's not a lot of vertical room for a CPU cooler, and smaller coolers tend to not cool as well or use smaller fans that can be louder. The PSU is actually very quiet until it's stressed. I would be reluctant to go to a fanless PSU in this configuration as the PSU's fan helps to draw warm air out of the case.

I would love to put together a truly fanless system some day, but it seems to be relatively uncommon, and even when using heatsinks it's important to have some airflow over the case.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Small build
by Wondercool on Sun 10th Nov 2013 13:24 UTC in reply to "Small build"
Wondercool Member since:
2005-07-08

+1 for this. Similar build here:

This is from 18 months ago:
- Case: Silverstone SG05BB-450 140 euro
- RAM 8GB 40 euro
- CPU cooling (fan) 10 euro
- Motherboard ASRock Z68M-ITX/HT 100 euro
- CPU Intel Core i5 (sandy bridge) 180 euro
- GPU ADM 6870 150 euro
- 64Gb SSD 80 euro
The case comes with a 450 watt PSU, enough for most modern GPUs.

This is around the 700 mark, depending on shipping and if you need keyboard, mouse, screen and disks. I had most of them.

It plays all games HD on almost the highest settings fluently. It's small enough to fit in a suitcase (I shipped it like that on a 12 hour flight!).

Building it was tricky as there is almost no room left for the 3.5" disk. In the end I used a 500gb 2.5" laptop disk for the data.

I would build a similar PC these days, except I made one big mistake: the noise level of the GPU is way too high.I would research my GPU better and/or I would find a watercooling solution for the GPU.

IMHO the biggest problem in making the PC smaller is the 11" length of the graphics card. I wish the motherboard makers + GPU makers could sit together to make some sort of joined up device without losing the performance.

Edited 2013-11-10 13:35 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Small build
by chandler on Mon 11th Nov 2013 01:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Small build"
chandler Member since:
2006-08-29

Well, the "joined up device" would be integrated graphics, which has its own substantial tradeoffs. Maybe Kaveri will finally get the formula right, but I'm not holding my breath.

The other option is of course a gaming laptop running with the lid closed...

Reply Score: 1

RE: Small build
by modmans2ndcoming on Sun 10th Nov 2013 16:56 UTC in reply to "Small build"
modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

Just send the fluid out to an old car radiator :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Small build
by Ultimatebadass on Sun 10th Nov 2013 22:36 UTC in reply to "Small build"
Ultimatebadass Member since:
2006-01-08

For a gaming PC you could do better (assuming paying same money) trading off that i7K for a i7 or high-end i5 and a better graphics card.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Small build
by chandler on Mon 11th Nov 2013 00:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Small build"
chandler Member since:
2006-08-29

For sure - this is an all purpose gaming/development/virtualization workstation for me, and I'm likely to upgrade the video card sooner than the CPU anyway. The 7870 was actually an impulse purchase as I was just going to move my 6850 over, but at $140 after rebate it seemed too good to pass up. I also tend to play more CPU-bound strategy games than GPU-bound shooters.

All the components in my build were purchased at my local Microcenter, which has the best price by far on the 4770K ($280) and a $30 combo discount with a K-series part and any compatible motherboard. Had I bought the system at Newegg, I would have ended up with the i5-4670K for essentially the same amount of money.

Reply Score: 1

ronaldst
Member since:
2005-06-29

That's because, like smartphones, everybody is buying big boxes. Last year when I bought parts to make a new Ivy Bridge PC, I was in the same predicament. I ended up buying a Corsair 300r chassis. There was nothing interesting in the Mini/Micro-ATX dept. The only one I found was the SilverStone TJ08-E Micro-ATX Chassis.
http://www.silverstonetek.com/product.php?pid=303

But for me, that's still too big. My minimalist tastes would be happier with something like this:
http://www.acer.ca/ac/en/CA/content/series/aspirex

I don't even need a 5¼ bay. Just give me room for a GTX760.

Reply Score: 3

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

So you can get a standard video card into that thing?

Reply Score: 2

Which off the shelf parts..
by uridium on Sun 10th Nov 2013 11:05 UTC
uridium
Member since:
2009-08-20

How about a steam-machine ..and just be done with it?

Reply Score: 1

Rock Paper Shotgun starting point
by M.Onty on Sun 10th Nov 2013 15:03 UTC
M.Onty
Member since:
2009-10-23

I recommend this article by RPS as a place to get started. They distil the variety of options available for PC components down to a reasonable series of choices.

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/06/14/build-a-next-gen-pc/

It won't help you get it in a case the size of a Steambox, but at least you'll know what you'll need to put in said box.

As for a case, its rather large, but I got the Fractal Design Node 605 recently to build my own PC.

http://www.dabs.com/products/fractal-design-node-605-8N15.html?refs...

My aim was to have a PC that fit in with the rest of my stereo stack (am, CD player, turn-table). In that context, with the components taken from the RPS article above, it fits in discretely & quietly.

If you want a few more options search for the "Hard Choices" series on RPS.

Reply Score: 3

Price estimate is too low
by ingraham on Sun 10th Nov 2013 15:15 UTC
ingraham
Member since:
2006-05-20

Consider:
The Digital Storms Bolt start at $1234.
http://www.digitalstormonline.com/bolt.asp

The Falcon Northwest Tiki starts at $1786.
http://www.falcon-nw.com/desktops/tiki

True, the Alienware X51 starts at $699. But that's with an i3 processor and a GTX 645. With an i7 and a GTX 760 it jumps to $1099.
http://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-x51-r2/pd.aspx

I'd say the very top of your range (800 euros) is the very bottom of the range for a true SFF gaming PC.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Price estimate is too low
by modmans2ndcoming on Sun 10th Nov 2013 17:03 UTC in reply to "Price estimate is too low"
modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

The best bang for your buck with the x51 is $849.

Reply Score: 2

So...
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 10th Nov 2013 16:49 UTC
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

So, I've been following some of the recommendations here, and I've got it down do this:

http://s12.postimg.org/fvnsef7v1/build.png

Any thoughts on the liquid cooling? Benefits vs. downsides?

There's no case here - I have a really good full-aluminium Lian Li case already, collecting dust because it isn't being used. I'd need to check if it has the space for the radiator/cooler from the liquid cooling system.

There's no way I can justify spending this amount of money right now (having just bought the iPhone 5S), but it does intrigue me that such a powerful system only costs a mere €700.

Reply Score: 1

RE: So...
by No it isnt on Sun 10th Nov 2013 19:09 UTC in reply to "So..."
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

Like I said above, go for a Gold/Platinum rated PSU. The Corsair CX series is Bronze, which is less efficient, meaning it will transform more electricity to heat (possibly twice as much). You can probably skimp on the wattage when going up in efficiency.

Gaming under Linux means nvidia currently.

Cooling: I used liquid cooling in my old system, and a bigger Noctua heatsink in my current 4770K system. The great thing about liquid is that you don't need to put a heavy chunk of metal directly on your CPU, but it's neither quieter nor more efficient. However, you should easily get by with a 65W i5 4570S CPU, as even my four years old Phenom II 945 system could run just about any game.

Reply Score: 3

RE: So...
by _txf_ on Mon 11th Nov 2013 00:33 UTC in reply to "So..."
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

If you're really interested in the most silent (barely) then keep the water cooling system. However, these days even the stock intel heatsink and fan makes so little noise it is barely noticeable. This is doubly true since you're going to be overclocking that cpu.

I would suggest you invest that money into the gfx card.

In regard to the gfx, whilst I definitely tend towards Amd cards (more flexible in esp. for things like gpgpu), if you're going to use steamOS then don't use AMD.

The open driver works, but it really isn't optimized for games. The closed driver is more optimized but still seriously sucks vs Nvidia.

Edited 2013-11-11 00:35 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: So...
by Wondercool on Mon 11th Nov 2013 12:05 UTC in reply to "So..."
Wondercool Member since:
2005-07-08

That looks fine to me.

Personally I would not buy a 600W PSU unless your are planning on upgrading your GPU later.
Todays CPUs and GPUs don't need that much power anymore. Around 100watt for the CPU and around 200 for the GPU max. This is getting less every year as the die shrinks.

I would also not invest in a water cooled heating system. My Core i5-2500 rarely breaks out in a sweat, so the CPU fan revs at around 1000 rpm 99 percent of the time, nearly inaudible if your case is good.

You can also save on your CPU if you really want to, there are incredibly few games out there that are CPU bound. Most games are GPU bound.
If you replace your motherboard for an AMD FX6000 and don't use water cooling, you can save another 100 euro at least.

Edited 2013-11-11 12:07 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: So...
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 11th Nov 2013 12:54 UTC in reply to "RE: So..."
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

So a 400-450W would suffice? I do want modular, though, that sounds incredibly useful for proper cable management inside the case. I may opt for a case with a window, so that would look nice (I know, I know, don't judge me).

As for going AMD - any suggestions for motherboard/processor combination? I really wish AMD and Intel simplified their line-up.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: So...
by Wondercool on Mon 11th Nov 2013 13:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: So..."
Wondercool Member since:
2005-07-08

Yes 450 would suffice, I have a 450watt PSU myself and a
Core i5 + 6870 and no issues.

A popular AMD processor would be the FX6300
Here is a brief comparison:

http://www.cpu-world.com/Compare/359/AMD_FX-Series_FX-6300_vs_Intel...

The AMD is only slightly slower and a lot cheaper.

I have no experience with a modular PSU, I presume you will pay extra for that but I guess it is worth it.

A really good site to ask if your build is ok is this forum:

http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=842&order=desc


Just fill in the questionnaire and they will spec a computer for you. Also note that they mostly buy from http://hardwareversand.de It is one of the cheapest places to buy and you only pay a one-off shipping fee, no matter how much you buy.

Edited 2013-11-11 13:24 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: So...
by ShadesFox on Mon 11th Nov 2013 21:08 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: So..."
ShadesFox Member since:
2006-10-01

Moduler cables on PSUs is easily one of the best inventions in PC history.
I've been thinking of a replacement PC and have been experenting with how much poet I use. I have a power monitor on my PC and I've been watching it for months and I've yet to see it go above 350 in any video game. And that is external wattage which is higher than delivered internal wattage (internal is what is printed on the box). My next PSU will be 450 with the highest efficiency rating I can afford.

Reply Score: 2

modmans2ndcoming
Member since:
2005-11-09

I found that an A10 processor in the smallest mini ITX box (a slim box) was the best balance I could find. Anything smaller would need to be a Motherboard with the Discrete GFX on board. Right now NVidia does not deliver good performance for their small form factor chips.

If power is your goal then you should be looking at a standard PC but focus on silencing the machine.

that said....this may be the best OEM mix for the price

http://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-x51/pd.aspx?&ST=alienware%20...

Edited 2013-11-10 16:53 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Silent game machine
by Bobthearch on Sun 10th Nov 2013 17:12 UTC
Bobthearch
Member since:
2006-01-27

Why is quiet such an important factor for a gaming console? You aren't going to hear ordinary PC fans or hard drive sounds over the top of the game anyway.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Silent game machine
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 10th Nov 2013 17:18 UTC in reply to "Silent game machine"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

There are a lot of games I play that also use a lot of silence for pacing and such - the constant whirr of the fans of my first-gen Xbox 360 (still going strong!) is incredibly annoying. Also, I pause a lot, leaving the machine running.

On top of that, silent computing is just a fun exercise.

Reply Score: 3

NCASE M1
by Luke McCarthy on Mon 11th Nov 2013 10:26 UTC
Luke McCarthy
Member since:
2005-07-06

There's a new case that was developed by some guys on HardForum and manufactured by Lian Li called NCASE M1. They had an Indiegogo campaign a little while back and they have now shipped out the first batch. I'm hoping they plan to sell the case to non-backers at some point because it is very compact yet you can fit a full size GPU and desktop CPU with watercooling in it.

http://ncases.com/

Edited 2013-11-11 10:27 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: NCASE M1
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 11th Nov 2013 10:31 UTC in reply to "NCASE M1"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Woah. Want.

Reply Score: 1

RE: NCASE M1
by _txf_ on Mon 11th Nov 2013 13:05 UTC in reply to "NCASE M1"
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17



That is a nice case, however I see problems with the graphics card. A case like this favours a Blower design which tend to be louder. If you're using an Open dual/triple Fan GPU heat sink you're going to be obstructing air flow with the Hard disk; not to mention dumping hot air all over the insides of the case (the Side panel grilles don't extend down to the Gfx card).

Edited 2013-11-11 13:06 UTC

Reply Score: 2

I usually just buy a Shuttle
by CaptainN- on Mon 11th Nov 2013 21:51 UTC
CaptainN-
Member since:
2005-07-07

These are fantastic cases, with high quality mother boards (I have a 10 year old AMD based unit that still runs, and a new 5 year old SP35P2Pro that is still my primary gaming machine).

You can even get really nice internal presealed water cooling devices to make these boxes quieter (they aren't necessarily quiet by default, but they are relatively easy to quiet with the right tools).

http://us.shuttle.com/barebone/products.html

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Tue 12th Nov 2013 00:31 UTC
Luminair
Member since:
2007-03-30

The constraint is the case. We nerds have been asking for console cases for computers for FAR TOO MANY YEARS and still there are none. So if you want a console case, buy a pre-made system with one. Or wait until assholes get around to selling just a console case.

Your system design at http://s12.postimg.org/fvnsef7v1/build.png is an inefficient use of money for game performance. The highest game performance per dollar comes from the video card up, and I predict this continues up until the $600 video cards... at least. There is a point where more performance is wasted, but new games are very good at consuming performance.

In other words, everything except the video card should be as cheap as possible, and be attached to the most expensive video card you can afford. The floor for this is pretty low. It may go down to 2-core cpus, but I'd go 4-core without proof 2-core is sufficient, because developers will be using 4-cores at least.

4GB memory is sufficient, and so is a hard drive not SSD. Personally I'd get one 8gb DIMM and an SSD, but not if it meant getting the video card you picked.

That power supply and cpu cooler are utterly ridiculous. The CPU is quiet with a retail heatsink the size of a deck of cards, and that computer will use 175W, not 600W.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Tue 12th Nov 2013 04:34 UTC in reply to "Comment by Luminair"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

It's hard to find data this low, but I found some. While the dual-core pentium and dual-core 4-thread core i3 are good value, I think the +4 multiplier overclock you get with ivy bridge (not haswell) i5 with turbobust (not i3) is the most compelling.

By choosing the i5 ivy bridge with the highest turbo speed for the buck, you get your 4 cores and a high speed for a decent price. Example: $200 USD i5-3470 has 3.6ghz turbo for 4.0ghz overclock.

Compare that to the techreport.com sweet spot recommendation: $200 USD i5-4430 haswell with 3.2ghz turbo and no overclock. That's... not as good.

Compare to the techreport budget option: $130 USD dual core, 4-thread i3-4130 at 3.4ghz. That or even a pentium for $80 could be the king of bang-for-the-buck in many comparisons. But I feel the extra speed and real cores of the 4ghz option above could be JUST worth it.

I'd like to see a real site benchmark the most demanding new games with the best bang-for-the-buck pentium, i3, i5, and i7, then show if there are any obvious or nuanced differences, like more skips / lower minimum frame rates.

I'm biased and trying to find a way for the $200 chip to be worth it compared to the $100 one. My heart says "yes" but my brain says "no" -- that $100 is probably still better spent on the video card.

All the new games are being designed for game consoles which have 8 cpu cores about the speed of an ipad. Each is worth maybe 1.5ghz of an intel cpu.

Fuzzy imaginary comparison math incoming: Let's say the consoles only give the game 6 cores, and let's say intel hyperthread is worth 0.5 of a core. That means a 2 core 4 thread 3ghz intel chip has virtually 2 + (2*0.5) = 3 cores at 2x the speed of the consoles, or 6 console cores worth of speed.

But guess what: you can't even get an intel CPU that slow. The worst you can get is a 3.1ghz i3-2100... which came out in the year 2011. The modern version of that is a 3.4ghz i3 for $130. Really puts the CPU you need for games in perspective. Intel CPUs are so fast that the weak ones walk through games barely trying.

The benchmarks around the web bare this out:
http://www.techspot.com/review/734-battlefield-4-benchmarks/page6.h...
http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/battlefield_3_vga_and_cpu_perf...

Yet there are some that don't, and those are where I become concerned. I don't want to tell someone to save $80 and then they get half the FPS they should in a new game. Crysis? http://www.overclock.net/t/1362591/gamegpu-crysis-3-final-gpu-cpu-s...


I'd get the quad core, but there is a case to be made that it's not needed.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Luminair
by _txf_ on Tue 12th Nov 2013 11:15 UTC in reply to "Comment by Luminair"
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

4GB memory is sufficient, and so is a hard drive not SSD. Personally I'd get one 8gb DIMM and an SSD, but not if it meant getting the video card you picked.


I disagree about that DIMM. You're really bottle necking the CPU by only using one memory channel. 2x 4GB dimms are not that much more expensive than a single 8.

Edited 2013-11-12 11:16 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Luminair
by Luminair on Tue 12th Nov 2013 19:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Luminair"
Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

Negative. Not only are you unable to prove that, but you're also probably unable to find the original source of the delusion...

The "dual channel memory kit" thing is a way for memory companies to trick people into buying old, slow, high voltage, low density memory. They obfuscate the real size, selling it as "8GB (2X4GB)". So basically it is a lie. The speed thing is imagined. You can see the increased speed only if you benchmark the memory alone.

Ironically the new AMD HSA announcement just happened, and for their new Kavari chip, dual channel memory may matter in game benchmarks. It can help with onboard graphics systems that use it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Comment by Luminair
by _txf_ on Tue 12th Nov 2013 23:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Luminair"
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

It appears you're correct.

Also as I recall the last time I heard that single channel memory limitations were related to a bobcat based apu (which only supports a single memory channel).

I was always under the impression that having two channels would increase performance, after all one could in theory hide latency by schedule reads and writes to each channel independently...

Reply Score: 2

Sadly
by torp on Wed 13th Nov 2013 04:57 UTC
torp
Member since:
2010-08-10

Since a gaming machine (Steambox or not) requires a powerful video card, you will have to choose between size and noise. It's hard to have proper cooling in a small box.
Unfortunately, the chances that any of the first steam boxes will even resemble a small, tightly integrated solution are slim to none. Look at the PS4 disassembly. Even ignoring the custom motherboard, the cooling solution and integrated PSU (no, no power bricks for me, thank you) needs a large production run which the first Steam boxes won't have.
Your best bet for choosing a case and PSU is silentpcreview...
As for the choice of components, look at any Linux hardware compatibility list. You have to mostly be careful about the wifi, i guess. And use a nvidia video card. Proprietary or not, they have the best working 3D drivers.

Edited 2013-11-13 04:58 UTC

Reply Score: 1